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Can this be done without burning bridges?

Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by TheGentleman, Oct 17, 2020.

  1. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter


    Asking for a friend (). My ‘friend’ became Head of a core subject in an independent school by default. She was an NQT and no one else wanted it and each time the current HoD asked if someone would take it on, it would be a running joke that the ‘NQT’ should do it. So said friend spoke to her NQT mentor about whether they should show willing and put themselves forward. Mentor thought it would be a good idea. So said friend did and after a month or so was told that the Governors had approved the appointment.

    Said friend bricked it, but took it on and has been doing it for past 2.5 years and doing it quite well. However, said friend feels slightly out of her depth and lacking the experience required to deal with certain matters, including managing individuals who are clashing over the subject delivery in their year group. Friend thinks if she had 5/6 years just teaching under her belt before stepping into HoD role, she would be able to do a better job WBD have the experience in the issues that are now cropping up (mainly due to the pressure cooker environment that COVID19 has created).

    This is having a detrimental affect on their mental health (for which she has been in medication for over 5 years). Sleepless nights, becoming very curt with the children (her biggest concern) and feeling a constant sense of ‘injustice (which is draining). On top of this, said friend feels that they are missing out on developing as a teacher as she is spread thinly between HoD (no one extra time given for this) and form teacher. She has never had time just to focus on teaching, which is why she became a teacher. She has no aspirations for becoming SLT.

    Question is - how does friend extricate herself from the role ASAP before her mental health deteriorates further?

    How does she resign from the HoD role (it is a paid role - about £100 a month after tax - so about £5 an hour if broken down into an hourly rate)? She was thinking of telling Head this week (using the explanation you have just read) and saying she wouldcontinue up to Christmas to all Head to find a new person to take on the role.

    Do you think her job will become untenable by asking to do this?

    any help would be much appreciated (by my ‘friend’
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think your friend would be better off having a frank chat with whoever her line manager is and seeing what they can come up with. Chances are there is a more experienced HOD who can mentor and help her. Or someone else now around who might be happy to be a second in dept and take on some of the role.

    Generally you can't just resign from bits of your role. But your friend can certainly talk to her headteacher and let them know how she is feeling. There could be any number of possibilities.
    agathamorse and sabrinakat like this.
  3. install

    install Star commenter

    She says she is missing being a full time teacher of course. The issue is there may not be a job in that role unless they promote internally.
  4. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Thanks @caterpillartobutterfly - not the answer she was hoping for but one has to be realistic. The school certainly doesn’t do nurturing or mentoring. “Grow a pair” has been used by the Head before when addressing a concern raised. I think she can only ask and if her request to step aside can’t be granted (and there is no reason why it should - aside from the duty of care owed to staff members) then she would have to find another role in another school which is not HoD. Thanks again. Your advice is always welcome and sensible.
  5. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    that is true.
    install likes this.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Exactly and I wouldn’t have too frank a chat with the HT less they have no job to go to.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think for your friend that probably is the case.
    Any headteacher will ask why she wants to give up the role and she needs to be honest about it. No point pretending or your friend won't end up with a result she needs.

    But if she can't give up the role, then looking elsewhere is probably what's needed. And the school can then advertise for a 'head of X' which will make their life easier than having someone who doesn't want it as well. If there are other possible schools, then this might be the better option for all.

    Best of luck to her.
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. NQT08

    NQT08 Occasional commenter

    Is there anybody else in the staff already that could do and would want the role?
  9. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Established commenter

    You must mean £1000 a month otherwise she's working 1 hour per day.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think the OP means the 'extra' for the HOD role, which probably is an hour a day.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    As long as she doesn’t tell the HT she hates the job she should be okay. I wouldn’t reveal all - that would be a disaster. She needs to be very very careful on this one..
  12. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    UPDATE: Well, she did it. Sent email to the head asking to step down from head of ks2 English position due to personal and professional reasons. Email back from the Head was disappointing, but not surprising. He feigned surprise that she wanted to step down; claimed she had wasted money on the training she had had for the role of head of ks2 English and the investment in resources for the changes she made (which were a success). Remember she was in role for 2.5 years not 25 minutes. Anyway, it was the best she could expect and is very relieved. Her notice runs to half term in February. Then she can focus on just being a teacher (she is only 3.5 yrs pqe) - probably at a meeting school come September. Funny thing is, unbeknown to her, the head of KS1 English has asked to step down too! Coincidence?
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think any head would be disappointed, your friend would be upset if the head were thrilled!
    But the head has agreed and it seems no bridges burned, so all's well.
    Well done her and hope all goes as she hopes.
  14. TheGentleman

    TheGentleman Occasional commenter

    Exactly. She has made his job harder, so can’t expect the red carpet treatment.
  15. install

    install Star commenter

    No shocks here.

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